Communal living means always having to say: “you’re sorry”

An open letter to the people downstairs, who keep smoking pot and cigarettes in the house:

Did you think I wouldn’t notice? Well, did you? The whole house smelled like weed and tobacco. It’s a duplex . . . that means that the two parts of our house are connected, in case you were too bombed to notice. Combined with the door slamming and stereo blaring, it was pretty easy to figure out what was going on.

If it were the first time, I would be OK with it. You guys are new to the duplex after all. While I would think that “please try to keep the smoking of drugs and partying to a minimum for the comfort of others” would not need to be expressly written in the lease agreement, I may have been mistaken. In my own defense, I thought I made that point abundantly clear when I wrote you the first letter.

So for the second time, I’m asking you, “please don’t smoke pot and cigarettes in the house.” It’s not that strange or unreasonable a request: we do have a nice garage which would probably love to have you in it, smoking weed and chatting — just please try to avoid scratching my car.

I was 20 once too, you know: I have smoked the reefer; I’m down with the “Snoopy dog.” It’s not like that’s some sort of excuse. I know I might sound like a jerk, trying to piss all over your fun, but I’m not. Honestly. I like fun, I like loud music, I even like to par-tay once in a while, but I do it away from people who have sleeping babies, who might not appreciate me “hot-boxing” their apartment. That is what living in a society means to me.

You’re free to have fun and enjoy yourself, so long as you don’t put other people out.

As I told the guy who nearly ran over me and my daughter in the Superstore parking lot, “if you want to live your life like you are the only person who matters, fuck off to the woods, and don’t come back.”

This might sound harsh, but if you look past the profanity and anger, there is a message there; one that I feel could make our society a much better place if everyone adhered to, but I can’t take credit for it. It has been repeated by almost every major religion since the beginning of religion, because religion used to lay down the rules for societies, don’t you know. While I’m not a religious man, I can get behind this sentiment: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

This doesn’t mean that it’s OK for you to smoke pot in the house because you wouldn’t mind if I did it, it means that before you go about disrespecting me and mine, think about how you would respond if I intentionally disrespected you.

We have to live together, and it can either be comfortable under an air of mutual respect, or it can be petty and annoying.

Here’s hoping you choose the former.

Leif Larsen is the crotchety Science Editor at the Manitoban.